BRIGHTMARE! Enucleation is so 5th Century…
What might happen if we let go of the “Subject”? What might happen upon the loss of Oedipal subject formation? Much of the rhetoric surrounding cyberspace – especially as espoused by the most optimistic and ‘progressive’ theorists – is unabashedly optimistic about the idea.
What happens to the subject if we are increasingly working (and playing) in and amidst informatic code, if our bodies are constantly being re-configured, if our sense of place and identity has become ‘virtual’ and in endless ‘potential’.
ONE: For Baudrillard, “recalling Lacan’s idea of the Real as the domain of the impossible object of desire, the real which we inhabit is no longer full of its own reality, where ‘reality’ points us toward Heidegger’s argument that being has faded from the world… [T]he real has already out-realized itself, becoming in the process excessively (hyper)real.” (Cubitt, Sean. “Poetics of Pessimism”.)
like a face: in plastic surgery, they take away everything negative in a face and make it ideal, in theory, with only positive, ideal traits. All of the alterity, negativity, contradiction, and asymmetry are removed from the face. Everything related to character, action, or expression is generally smoothed over in plastic surgery to produce an artificial model…The aim is to remove every figure of alterity from fate and ensure that everything that is not negotiable, that could not be negotiable, becomes negotiable for the sake of general redemption of forms and signs” (Baudrillard, Radical Alterity, 2008, 114-115)
TWO: To forget about ‘lack’ is the terrifying dream of the new millennium, a dream where a tyrannical Epimetheus is king: these are dreams of an orphan that lives forever without a corporeal body in virtual space. In a world growing increasingly virtual we risk creating a world where dreams don’t become real, but hyper-real, where one does not escape from the simulacra, they only fall deeper awake. In this dark, no – too bright! – future, inhuman’s will exclaim “No matter how many downers and sleeping pills we take we are awake now, and perhaps even moving beyond sleep.”
It is death that calls us to eternal sleep, the body whose organs become tired and wasted, the (m)other who reminds us of quiescence. The inhuman future is one where our inoculations fail, it is a future that moves toward eternal waking, the Body without Organs and the anti-Oedipus.
Wakefulness thrives in the information economy, the markets – interconnected between time zones – do not sleep, they endlessly speculate, they endlessly transfer data. Our bodies; punctured with nanobots, pacemakers, vaccines, and time-release drugs remain aware – even as we awake on a Sunday morning and exclaim: ‘what a good, long sleep I’ve had’. What happens to the ‘subject’ as everything around it is wrested of its negativity? What happens to the very idea of negativity, of madness, of a structuring gap? This eternal wakefulness, where the frenzy within one’s core has been silenced and turned into an orderly machinic humming is not the harbinger of the posthuman but the inhuman.
Houellebecq on telecommunications: “The world is becoming more uniform before our eyes; telecommunications are improving; apartment interiors are enriched with new gadgets. Human relationships become progressively impossible, which greatly reduces the quantity of anecdote that goes to make up a life. And little by little death’s countenance appears in all its glory. The third millennium augurs well.” (Houellebecq, Michel. Whatever. P. 14)